Jazz Related Blues

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The blues have had a strong influence on jazz since the very beginning. This is no big surprise since jazz and blues both come from the same African roots. The JR Blues genre at JMA is not meant to be an exhaustive list of every blues artist in the world, we'll leave that formidable task for sites dedicated to the blues.

The JR Blues genre at JMA is for:

1) Artists who play music that is a mix of jazz and blues, such as Jimmy Smith and Robben Ford.

2) Blues artists who were major innovators and trend setters, such as Bessie Smith, Robert Johnson, BB King and Muddy Waters.

3) Artists who were particularly creative within the blues genre such as Taj Mahal, Otis Taylor and Peter Green.

jazz related blues top albums

Showing only albums and live's | Based on members ratings & JMA custom algorithm | 60 min. caching

JIMMY SMITH Bashin' The Unpredictable Jimmy Smith Album Cover Bashin' The Unpredictable Jimmy Smith
JIMMY SMITH
4.95 | 4 ratings
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JIMMY SMITH Jimmy And Wes:The Dynamic Duo Album Cover Jimmy And Wes:The Dynamic Duo
JIMMY SMITH
4.72 | 7 ratings
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DINAH WASHINGTON Dinah Jams Album Cover Dinah Jams
DINAH WASHINGTON
4.95 | 2 ratings
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JIMMY SMITH The Cat Album Cover The Cat
JIMMY SMITH
4.72 | 6 ratings
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KENNY BURRELL Midnight Blue Album Cover Midnight Blue
KENNY BURRELL
4.64 | 9 ratings
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JIMMY SMITH Back at the Chicken Shack Album Cover Back at the Chicken Shack
JIMMY SMITH
4.62 | 11 ratings
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JIMMY SMITH Prayer Meetin' Album Cover Prayer Meetin'
JIMMY SMITH
4.48 | 4 ratings
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KING CURTIS Blues At Montreux  ( with Champion Jack Dupree) Album Cover Blues At Montreux ( with Champion Jack Dupree)
KING CURTIS
4.49 | 3 ratings
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DINAH WASHINGTON After Hours With Miss After Hours With Miss "D"
DINAH WASHINGTON
4.45 | 2 ratings
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FRANKIE LAINE Frankie Laine And The Four Lads Album Cover Frankie Laine And The Four Lads
FRANKIE LAINE
4.40 | 2 ratings
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YUSEF LATEEF The Blue Yusef Lateef Album Cover The Blue Yusef Lateef
YUSEF LATEEF
4.27 | 4 ratings
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ESTHER PHILLIPS The Country Side Of Esther Phillips (aka Release Me!) Album Cover The Country Side Of Esther Phillips (aka Release Me!)
ESTHER PHILLIPS
4.25 | 2 ratings
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jazz related blues Music Reviews

BLIND BLAKE The Rough Guide To Blues Legends: Blind Blake

Boxset / Compilation · 2013 · Jazz Related Blues
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siLLy puPPy
Little is known of the artist known as BLIND BLAKE who was a pioneer blues and ragtime singer / guitarist. Despite little known about his personal life, he was actually quite successful for a short time when he recorded a great deal of music for Paramount Records between 1926 and 1932. Around 80 different songs actually. He was known for his technical wizardry of blending complex finger techniques that included ragtime and blues and considered to be one of the most accomplished guitarists of the era. His trademark sound was that he made his guitar sound like a piano with his lightning fast finger picking talents. Ragtime is notoriously one of the most difficult genres of music to play on the guitar.

Despite BLIND BLAKE’s prolific output in a short period of time, Paramount Records went broke in 1932 and then he disappeared for a while until in 1934 he was hit by a streetcar and finally succumbed to a pulmonary hemorrhage caused by a bad bout with pneumonia a couple years prior thus ending his life and taking all the mysteries with him. Due to the fact he only recorded in the 20s / 30s timeline no albums were released at that time and only various compilations exist that attempt to highlight his prolific canon of finger breaking guitar workouts.

THE ROUGH GUIDE TO BLUES LEGENDS: BLIND BLAKE succeeds in painting a decent representation of BLAKE at his peak ranging from 1926 to 1929 including his first hit “West Coast Blues” and some of his most impressive guitar work on tracks such as “Southern Rag.” “Come On Boys Let’s Do That Messin’ Around” includes one of the first scat solos ever recorded and many of the tracks display his eclectic experimental tendencies which inspired many guitarists to come including Ry Cooder, John Fahey and Leon Redbone amongst others. Even Bob Dylan covered “You Gonna Quit Me Blues” which can be heard here in its original form.

Many World Music Network compilations also contain a second bonus disc and the one included here is titled “The Rough Guide To Ragtime Blues & Hokum.” The hokum was a particular type of American blues music that was almost always humorously employed to incorporate a fair use of euphemisms that made sexual innuendos. This type of music along with ragtime were the musical genres of choice for party situations in African American get-togethers of the day. Since BLIND BLAKE is one of my favorite artists from this period, this compilation is a highly recommended gateway drug into further exploration. If you just can’t get enough there is always the Complete Recorded Works In Chronological Order in four volumes from Document Records but this compilation contains most of the more celebrated singles.

MUDDY WATERS Electric Mud

Album · 1968 · Jazz Related Blues
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js
One of the most polarizing blues albums of all time, there is no middle ground when it comes to Muddy Waters’ “Electric Mud”, people either love it or hate it, and either perspective is understandable depending on how you approach it. In 1968, when this album came out, Waters’ album sales were lagging. Meanwhile, artists like Cream and Jimi Hendrix were making big bucks playing music similar to Muddy Waters, only dressed up in the psychedelic garb of the day. Enter some overreaching producers hoping to make Waters more popular with the hippy crowd, and you get this odd album that has Muddy fronting a psychedelic rhythm section borrowed from avant-RnB group, Rotary Connection. With the use of Connection’s musicians, you get one of the best psychedelic guitarists this side of Hendrix himself, Pete Cosey, a man who would eventually go on to join Miles Davis in the mid-70s. Considering Cosey’s presence on here can help determine the best perspective on this album, this may not be Muddy Water’s best vocal performance, but it is a great slice of Cosey’s funky guitar work, a guitarist who was very under-recorded during his often underground career.

The music on here is wild and nasty funk driven blues rock, much more loose than Cream, and more loose than Hendrix’s studio albums too. Think of a cross between early Funkadelic, Sly Stone, Iggy and the Stooges and the MC5 and you might get an idea what this throw together band sounds like. Its no wonder long time Waters fans were turned off when they heard this. The album opens unevenly too, with two funk driven numbers that produce rhythms that are at odds with Muddy’s more blues groove oriented vocals, but after these two missteps, the band and Muddy settle down and start working together better in more of a blues-rock context. The cover of the Rolling Stones’ “Lets Spend the Night Together” is a barely recognizable psychedelic monster with Muddy throwing away any lyrics that don’t fit him. Most of the rest of the cuts on “Electric Mud” work well too, with some exceptions. “Tom Cat” is a good jam, but would have been better without the noodling off key soprano saxophone, and the classic “Mannish Boy” loses some of its primal power to a tempo that is a little too fast.

Apparently Muddy Waters didn't care for this album, which is understandable since it really doesn't sound like its his, but it has been said that Hendrix was enthusiastic about it. It was always obvious that Cosey was influenced by Jimi, but its interesting to find out that the influence went the other way too.

ESTHER PHILLIPS The Country Side Of Esther Phillips (aka Release Me!)

Album · 1966 · Jazz Related Blues
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Matt
Esther Phillips hit rock bottom by 1954 at 19 years of age and stayed there till 1962 after leaving Johnny Otis’ band in 1950 . She was known as Little Esther back then and in her first year with Johnny Otis she had a string of hits but as a roller coaster climbs to the top one knows where it is going next and Esther took that ride down at a quite a speed. She left Johnny Otis’s band after the first year and went solo but the hits stopped. She recorded thirty songs with her new record label Federal with only one getting to number eight on the charts. She went back home to Texas and worked clubs and venues locally but drug addiction kept getting in the way and luckily for Esther a young Kenny Rogers saw one of her shows in 1962 and signed her to his brother’s record label, Lenox. She went on to record a Ray Price hit “Release Me” (1963) which was a Country song and made it number one on the R&B charts and number eight on the Pop ones. After a brief hiatus at Lenox Esther signed with Atlantic Records and recorded her first album “And I Love Him” in 1965 which was released in 1966 with a follow up in the same year “Esther Phillips Sings” but she was not finished yet for 1966 when she also released “The Country Side Of Esther Phillips”.

The title explains the album’s theme quite sufficiently and all are given a beautiful Soul injection from Esther with the Anita Kerr sisters providing backing vocals throughout the album’s duration which was recorded down in Nashville for even more Country authenticity. Ray Charles was the ground breaker for these type of integrated albums with his release in 1962 of “Modern Sounds In Country And Western” which today is considered his greatest album by many and “The Country Side Of Esther Phillips” is not far behind for quality. Eleven tracks were included within the album with two Hank Williams’, being “I Can’t Help It” and “Why Should We Try Anymore” and Esther makes them her own with a stunning Soul interpretation of both. “I’d Fight The World” a Hank Cochrane song is given a lovely Soul rendition and for me is one of the top songs included. “Just Out Of Reach” was a Ray Price hit and an album single for Esther, “Be Honest With Me” is simply superb which is a Gene Autry and Fred Rose composition( Hank Williams covered many a, Fred tune). Even an early Charlie Rich “No Headstone on My Grave” with a Blues feel injected is just another album highlight with “After Loving You”, “Am I That Easy To Forget”, “Just Out Of Reach” and also included is a beautiful Soul version of “I've Forgotten More Than I’ll Ever Know About Him”. “Release Me” is a different version to Esther’s 1963 single and for myself it is actually an improvement with more emotion contained within.

“The Country Side Of Esther Phillips” is the female version of Ray’s “Modern Sounds In Country And Western” and could be considered the greatest female take of a Soul/Country album ever recorded. Esther had her own distinct sound with her voice bringing a distinct magic to this album and she sang from her guts with all the necessary emotion placed beautifully within every song. Many say her later Kudu Label material is better due to her hit “Home Is Where The Hatred Is” but for me it is the Atlantic albums with this being her jewel. We lost her far too young, she was only 48 back in 1984. If like myself you love these Country/ Soul albums and find this and Ray Charles enjoyable another good one is Joe Tex’s, “Soul Country” on Atlantic as well.

YUSEF LATEEF The Blue Yusef Lateef

Album · 1968 · Jazz Related Blues
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Sean Trane
Yusef’s generally most acknowledged second half of the 60’s album, The Blue Yusef, indeed the album has some credential at being among his better works in a very prolific career, though some jazz purists would probably beg to differ. As you’ll guess by the title, the album features much blues, a good deal of it being 12 bars, and a rarer 16 bars one, which sounds more mysterious. This could Ysef’s first album for Ahmet Ertegun’s Attlantic label (coming after from his impulse period), as well.

Opening on the bluesy Juba, Yusef brings immediate depth by mixing harmonica (courtesy of Buddy Lucas) and highly evocative from The Sweet Inspirations. The following 8-mins Like It Is has a highly haunting melody, first opening on an enchanted flute, then segueing in a delightful sax, then the underlying Lawson piano unleashes and a string quartet concludes in a masterful way. The exotic sounding (I’d say far-east, mixed with south-eastern Asia roots) Moon Cup is based on Phrygian scales, and it’s probably the least accessible track on the album. Othelia is a rather standard boogie blues with little interest, unlike the train-like rhythms of Back Home, where the harmonica returns, along some demented sax and percussions. Get Over and the rest of the flipside are different versions of blues. Not really YL’s most representative album, but the first and third tracks are among my faves of his.

"BROTHER" JACK MCDUFF The Honeydripper

Album · 1961 · Jazz Related Blues
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js
“The Honeydripper” was Jack McDuff’s third album and found him moving away from his hard bop beginnings and towards the new soul jazz sound, the end result is five tracks of pure blues (plus one Mancini classic) played by four guys with jazz chops. Jimmy Forrest is on tenor and provides an old school big sound rooted in the blues and early swing. Grant Green is making his debut recording on this one and easily holds his own against the others. All of the tunes are good, but collectors of lounge classics will want to take notice of McDuff’s cover of Mancini’s “Mr Lucky”. Brother Jack approaches this one with all the stops out for that classic full organ sound and extra swanky lounge groove. Other highlights on here include the up-tempo boppish “Whap!”, and “I want a Little Girl”, which is played with that odd sound that is created when only the high drawbars on the B3 are pulled out.

There’s not a lot to say about this one, fans of B3 jazz will know what to expect. “The Honeydripper” compares favorably to other records like it, and fortunately does not have any of the corny tracks that sometimes mar other organ soul jazz records. As a point of reference and comparison, during this same time period, Jimmy Smith's music and organ sound were a little more dry and less gospel sounding than McDuff's, and Smith's structures were more open with longer songs featuring long relaxed solos. Partly because of Forrest, McDuff’s music draws a little more from older swing and jump blues.

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